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UPDATE: Tobago goats to be eliminated completely – Smith-Abbott

- meeting to be held with JVD residents in near future
Director of the BVI National Parks Trust, Mr Joseph Smith-Abbott confirmed that goats on Great and Little Tobago will eliminated completely. Photo: GIS
A project reportedly being spearheaded by the BVI National Parks Trust to reduce the goat population of Great and Little Tobago has upset residents of Jost Van Dyke.
A project reportedly being spearheaded by the BVI National Parks Trust to reduce the goat population of Great and Little Tobago has upset residents of Jost Van Dyke.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Director of the National Parks Trust (NPT), Mr Joseph Smith-Abbott has confirmed that goats on Great and Little Tobago are to be eliminated completely.

During an interview with this news site, Smith-Abbott said that he was aware of the issue surrounding the goats and concerns raised by residents of Jost Van Dyke.

According to Smith-Abbott, “The project has been an ongoing one over a long number of years and we anticipate having a meeting with the interested parties sometime in the upcoming period.”

He did not give an indication of a specific time for the expected meeting to take place.

When asked whether the residents were notified in any way of the proposed meeting, Smith Abbott replied that the NPT had communicated with interested parties on the matter and reiterated that there would be a meeting ‘in the very near future’ to address concerns.

Mr Smith-Abbott further acknowledged that it was anticipated at some point that the goats would be eliminated completely from the island but assured that whatever misconceptions or misunderstandings that may have arisen will be dealt with.

Concerns were raised once more by several residents during a recently held stakeholders meeting with the BVI Tourist Board about the removal of goats from the islands which are designated as national parks.

Residents complained that the goats on the islands had been hunted for years and felt that they were being kept in the dark about what was happening with the situation and whether they would be able to continue to hunt the goats.

See previous story posted February 16, 2013:

JVD residents upset at proposed goat reduction project

- Preservation Society source says project aimed at biodiversity conservation

GREAT HARBOUR, Jost Van Dyke, VI – Residents of Jost Van Dyke (JVD) are furious about a proposed project to reduce the goat population on the islands of Great Tobago and Little Tobago situated a few miles east of JVD.

One resident, Dean Callwood, expressed that the goats were on the islands for many years and residents and locals have been able to acquire fresh goat meat for sale or other purposes over the years.

“How could they make a decision like this for the people that live in the Virgin Islands without even checking with us?” Callwood asked. He felt that the Preservation Society established in JVD were “doing a lot of things” behind the locals backs and was disturbed about this.

Another resident felt that persons responsible for executing the project knew they were doing something wrong in not consulting with residents and were making attempts to keep the situation under wraps.

According to Greg Callwood, someone from the National Parks Trust in JVD said a study was conducted and it was discovered that goats were destroying vegetation on the islands of Great Tobago and Little Tobago. He added that there appeared to be some sort of collaboration between the Preservation Society and the National Parks Trust (NPT) to execute the project for some time.

He was concerned that there was no notification given to residents about the pending execution of the project.

A source affiliated with the JVD Preservation Society, who wished to remain unnamed because of not being authorised to offer an official comment on the issue, confirmed that goat control is part of a project being executed by the National Parks Trust.

The source added the Society works under the National Parks Trust and the project had been attempted several years ago.

With the goats, the source noted, “there is erosion… you lose a lot of your native vegetation and as you lose that vegetation you lose a lot of bio-diversity on [the] small islands.”

The source further stated that in the instance of Great Tobago, “that has contributed to significant damage to the magnificent bird colony there.” The same source added that the Great Tobago [bird] colony is of the five largest sea bird colonies in the Caribbean and was therefore a global treasure.

According to the source, the erosion that took place as a result of the expanding goat population also has an impact on the surrounding coral reef. “Once that dirt gets dumped into marine systems, it impacts fishermen too,” the source related.

The source suggested that there will probably be a public meeting at some point in the future before the project is executed but could not confirm details of this.

“But it’s one of those things where it doesn’t mean just because goats are being removed from the National Park, it doesn’t necessarily mean that any of the partners are against hunting goats, I wish more people hunted goats on Jost Van Dyke,” the source continued, “frankly, I think that would help to control the population a little bit more and I think it’s good healthy food…”

The source insisted that the lead partner on the project is the National Parks Trust which falls directly under the Ministry of Natural Resources.

With regard to persons keeping goats on the islands of Tobago, the source noted that it was ultimately the decision of the National Parks Trust on what conservation actions needed to be done.

“A lot of times people think that there should always be public consensus,” the source stated while adding that this was not always necessarily the case and in this instance, the National Parks Trust have professionals in conservation biology and made decisions based on the best information they have.

It is not always an easy issue to deal with, the source also added, but felt it deserved to be publicised. “People should be able to express their concerns and dialogue, and talking about things is how you reach better understanding."

Efforts to contact the Director of the National Parks Trust, Mr Joseph Smith-Abbot for a comment were unsuccessful.

49 Responses to “UPDATE: Tobago goats to be eliminated completely – Smith-Abbott”

  • white bay (16/02/2013, 14:27) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Poor jost van dyke people where is the so called five representatives…all five need to be put out by the goats
    • Bubba Chick (17/02/2013, 21:02) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Time to join the world. It is the 21st century. J V D is a treasure,but it will crumble if you do not care for the land and reefs
  • x factor (16/02/2013, 14:29) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
    What a waste, these fools didn't even know about curry goat!!!!
    • Goats!!! (16/02/2013, 17:13) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
      Wow. At first it appeared to have buildings on Tobago, but realize that picture is Jost. You mean that many goats on Jost? And there's an uproar about them eradicating them from another island. Seems there are enough for the local population to eat as many as they want.
  • stupid is.... (16/02/2013, 15:25) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Isn't this the same project that NPT worked on about 8-10 years ago to try to eradicate the goats from the Tobagos? Goats should be penned up so that they don't interfere with areas that could cause potential damage to vegetation, particularly ground food that is grown locally. We see it all over the BVI that animals are not put in pastures and cause a nuisance to others. Raise your own livestock and eat as much as you want. Do any of these complainers actually own or just want to hunt the wild ones?
    • darky (17/02/2013, 03:53) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
      People, is this really worth it to kill deeds goats like this?
    • @Stupid is.... (26/03/2013, 10:27) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Do you have any idea about Tobago....There are no Vegetation or ground food grown on Tobago. You can hardly get on Tobago in a boat on a day, most of the time you have to swim in. Get you facts straight before you talk.
  • byegoats (16/02/2013, 15:30) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
    let's say your grandfather sells his house and you leave some things in the fridge... then years later the owner calls you and says "come get your things or I'm going to throw them out." the rotten food is ruining the whole fridge... and you get upset. same thing with Tobagos. people put goats on land that didnt belong to them years ago and it is destroying a precious area.... and now they are angry because they cant continue doing whatever they want. National Parks put public notice in USVI and BVI newspapers asking owners to remove their goats. with all of the development in the bvi, some areas need to be kept pristine or else we will have NOTHING left. take a look at the coral reefs on hillsides that are badly eroded. mossy green and no life left. i like goat, but i sure like eating fish too and i want as many left in the sea as possible....JVDers you want to let your ignorance ruin the VI's future, go for it. Just because you've always done something doesnt mean its right.... the culture argument is great but we drive cars, pave roads and have electricity and flushing toilets.... we move forward but with that forward progress we have to protect certain things. BVIlanders love ground provision...but we no today that too many starchy foods give you sugars... so do you never eat a breadfruit or cassava ever again? NO! but it means you do it in balance..same with tobago. JVDers hunt goat on your family land.
  • pic (16/02/2013, 15:41) Like (6) Dislike (19) Reply
    every how these white people come here, and try to fool the locals, the goverment sides with them when they kill our food, then we will be next its like that
    • bigger picture (16/02/2013, 23:38) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mr. Smith Abbott is a BVIslander and the project is supported by Foxy. If scientists see a problem on a small island that will affect them forever, does it matter if they are white? They have training that we should be looking at. We need to protect islands and unfortunately, this is part of that culling and protecting. Even the US has deer hunting season because there are too many deer and there is more land in US than on small islands. If the bush gets too thick, you trim it and the rest becomes stronger and healthier.
    • @ jokers (17/02/2013, 03:41) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
      Black man time come and gone.. The white man still holds the bag

    • Wonderwoman (26/03/2013, 10:38) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @jokers you sound so ignorant ya hear...
  • animals rights (16/02/2013, 15:49) Like (1) Dislike (13) Reply
    Seems like animal cruelty to me
  • cult (16/02/2013, 16:21) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
    • To cult. (16/02/2013, 20:27) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      Goats eat trees. And many of the birds nest on the ground...but the landslide has knocked down several of the trees.
  • to Jokers (16/02/2013, 16:30) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    The BVI National Parks Trust's Director is not a white person who just "came here"

    Revel in your ignorance, Joker, you have no argument other to turn this into a black/white issue.
  • Really? (16/02/2013, 17:09) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wondering if this is the issue or just another Yost Van Dyke drama issue? Seems there is always something that is set up for those people over there for thier benefit and the local population disagrees with it, either making it black/white or local/non-local issue. Those people are the worse offenders of the "born-here" syndrome. We were all born somewhere in the world. Its only when people came from someplace else that they feel threatened and want to be "from here". Use to be they all left to go to St. Thomas to better themselves. Probably the ones that disagree were either born in the USVI or USA and came back to defend their right to keep goats since it was THEIR tradition to eat goats. There are so many goats on Yost why worry about the ones on the tobagos.
    • I bahn here (18/02/2013, 11:26) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      So true,this is about who don't like who,instead of the actual issue at hand!
  • jokes (16/02/2013, 17:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who is he when he even cant be found lost in the PEAGANS MONEY
  • ausar (16/02/2013, 19:32) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    "Joker", I have to agree with you.

    Always remember the Native Americans and the Buffalo. When the animals were nearly extinct, the people was next-driven to near extinction and today many if not all are on reservations.

    And with so many foreigners on JVD who has expressed similar ideas, let's hope the JVD people are not the next intended targets!

    Keep aryo eyes on them four-horned foreign Kwapo's!!

  • . (16/02/2013, 21:57) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    that white goat humping away boy
  • bigger picture (16/02/2013, 23:54) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    the effort in controlling populations makes sense to me. If there are too many goats it destroys the variety of vegitation- without that vegetation to hold the soil there are landslides. Landslides affect many things including important seabird colonies (which affects the migrating populations around the world), and the dirt eventually ends up in the ocean causing brown water which settles and kills the coral reefs. Kill the reefs and mangroves- kill the juvenile fish for the fishermen and their livelihoods get affected also. It is a chain reaction that needs to be checked. afterall, islands are small contained little boxes without the miles and acres to expand on. You need to take care of it by culling the heard. After a while there won't be enough food for the goats themselves.
    This is responsible control. I wish other islands were so concerned. This will allow JVD to continue to be an ecological draw for visitors and food is still available for residents. Now... what can we do about farming?
    • (26/03/2013, 14:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      bigger picture I believe you got the remedy of population control. Does anyone know the breed of the goats? This should be a concern of Mr. Abbott, as killing all the goats is not an answer it will kill the breed of the goats causing and extint in the population. Let the young youth go and get the goats off the island each August and Christimas and sent the meat to the supermarket or local who cook at the village, thereby putting some money in the youths pocket, and every body win. Goats would be limited, youths will get money, supermarket and others will make profit, some goats will still be alive. Therefore the population of the goats would be controll.
  • mother hen (17/02/2013, 03:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    lawd hav mercy; comrades a go bawl wen dem kill all dey goats and me got nothing to eat!!!
  • makes a lot of sense (17/02/2013, 08:01) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    my first thought was 'why they killing the poor goats?' but after reading on I realise that the project makes a lot of sense. If the population needs to be reduced to protect plants, birds, coral, fish etc, then so be it. Just go about it in a profitable way.
  • goat water (17/02/2013, 10:49) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    just bring them to Tola we will eat dem all
  • 360 (17/02/2013, 12:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This gots to be a joke right?

  • goathunter (17/02/2013, 14:38) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    both live and already butchered goat will be for sale to local markets (bobbys, etc).
  • Release (18/02/2013, 06:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    what a shame and a disgrace!! boy we are fool!!
  • I bah here (18/02/2013, 12:03) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is so ridonculous! You know,if someone could actually come up with some evidence as to how goats aren't detrimental to the ecosystem,then I'd be willing to listen,and hear that side out. Instead,this makes me feel like the Callwood brothers need to pick up a damn ecology book,and give it a good read. There's all this talk as to how there needs to be a 'discussion' with the locals as to why this project needs to go through,but this will solve nothing,if the locals just immerse themselves in ignorance,and fail to see the big picture. We can't afford to bury our heads in the sand,and think that because our forefathers lived a certain way,that life will continue that way forever. Our forefathers didn't experience population on the same scale that it is at today,as well as other factors we experience in this century. How ignorant does it sound if I were to say that my ancestors never had running water,so I'm going to limit myself and go fetch water everyday.
    Again,the issue here is that we are all part of a bigger system. We can't close our eyes to the effects that goats have on the environment. Goats should be in pens,and taken care of. Do they even get water on a regular basis,because if not,then that's animal cruelty,and people being selfish,only caring about their own profit,and not even the well being of the goats,or the land which they inhabit.
    To get to the bottom of a matter,you have to look to the people in charge. What does the preservation Society and the National Parks Trust have to gain from this? To me,they will see more tourism,due to a thriving bird population,and beautiful reefs. What do the Callwood brothers have to gain? Do they have goats? Are they so spiritually evolved that they are speaking out on behalf of the people of Jost Van Dyke,because they hold them so near and dear to their hearts? Or are they just lashing out at their father,Foxy Callwood,who created the Preservation Society? Do they hold a grudge against him because they feel that he loves his 'white',children,that he had for his wife of over 40 yrs? This is no secret,they tell it to anyone willing to listen!
    Lets not turn this into a black and white issue,an us vs them issue. In order to solve problems,we need to observe facts,and THEN make a conclusion. We can't jump into an issue like this,and let emotions be the deciding factor in the end result!
  • Mr Shovels (18/02/2013, 16:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    If the goat population is over run then make it open season on goats, I don't see what the big issue is. It isn't that dissimilar from the feral hog problem that some of the southern states are having
  • Windy (18/02/2013, 19:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    As you can see in the photo of the goats, one hasn't gotten the message as he attemps to mount the yew in front of him.
  • x man (18/02/2013, 22:07) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    I think it's time for a STATE OF EMERGENCY!!!
  • pic (20/02/2013, 17:40) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    • Shoulda know (21/02/2013, 20:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Everyone on Jost knows that people were encouraged to hunt the goats on Big and Little Tobago and take advantage of them last summer! Upwards a hundred were caught and sold to Tola for the August Festival. So people have had the opportunity to profit from them and put them to good use for people to eat. there are only a few left that need to be removed so that the island can recover and trees start to grow again, without the threat of goats eating every seedling that sprouts. so whats the Big Issue? The magnificent Frigate Birds nest on the Tobagoes - one of the biggest colonies in the Caribbean - we in the BVI are the custodians of THEIR future. We live in an International World where everything affects everything else environmentally and they are actually NATIVE to this area whereas the goats were introduced. They are fine for a food source and there are enough on JVD to feed the population thru the next century, so whats the noise about? The Tobagoes are a National Park which are meant to be preserved in the interest of the Native Species, so let the goats go and leave the island to preserve and renew itself!
  • Down Islander (20/02/2013, 18:13) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply
    I wonder if the goats were from down island, they would want to keep them on the Tobagos. Just thinking.
  • CultureShock (22/02/2013, 12:13) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply

    I wonder last Dean or Greg went hunt goat on Tobago? It is B.V. Islanders who let culture BVI culture die...not the white man. maybe if theyd kept up goat hunting along instead of driving up and down in big cars all day, this wouldnt be the case.... and then JVD want government to do everything but bawl like a goat when they go and do a project like this. Thank you NPT an JVDPS, help protect "Nature's little secrets" and the BVI's reefs/fish.

  • vi (26/03/2013, 08:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    but i thought the police went over there sometime and shoot down all them goat, i guess they thought they got all of them but it seems some had left back, i know for a fact that the police went with a team of shooters and they took out a number og goats.
  • critic (26/03/2013, 08:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why not capture them and bring them over to the farm dr done deal???
  • Observer (26/03/2013, 09:44) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why kill the goats? Catch them and send them to the Department of Agriculture for rearing.
  • goat water (26/03/2013, 11:24) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is ridiculous and a dangerous precedent being established.
  • pic (26/03/2013, 18:04) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply

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